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Lastminute.com put up for sale by Sabre

18 August 2014
18 Aug 2014 -

 

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Lastminute.com is up for sale as parent company Sabre restructures its online travel agency (OTA) business.

US travel technology group Sabre has appointed corporate finance firm Houlihan Lokey to find a buyer for Lastminute.com, according to reports at the weekend.

North American OTA and Sabre subsidiary Travelocity paid £577 million for Lastminute.com in 2005 as the group sought to expand its OTA business in Europe.

No one from Sabre or Travelocity was available to comment on the report, published in The Sunday Times.

Travelocity posted a loss of $34 million in the first six months of this year and a fall in revenue of 40% to $180 million.

However, Sabre reported group revenue “excluding Travelocity” had increased in the half year. The group includes the Sabre global distribution system (GDS).

Sabre signed an agreement with OTA rival Expedia last August which saw Travelocity’s US and Canadian sites switch to using Expedia technology and selling Expedia content.

The Sabre group completed a partial IPO in the US in April.

Sabre described lastminute.com as “one of Europe’s strongest travel brands” in its most recent results statement.

Set up by Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, Lastminute.com was among the most successful UK start-ups of the dot.com boom of the 1990s.

The company floated on the London stock market in March 2000 and saw its share price peak at 555p before the dot.com bubble burst.

Lastminute stock subsequently traded as low as 17p in 2002.

The OTA’s UK managing director Mark Maddock left the company in April and joined Thomas Cook last month.

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